Thursday, 15 March 2012

033.14 to 034.29

Greetings all! We're back amongst the Wake. We had a good turnout last week (thanks to all who came along), but if you'd prefer we operate on a different day let me know, and hopefully we can be available to all. Here goes on my (minimal) thoughts on what was a diverting page and a half.

33.16-17: 'the stinks of Mohorat are in the nightplots of the morning' Although this is one of those bracketed phrases that you might be tempted to ignore, I reckon a little thinking is useful for this one. We're in the thick of the various revelations of HCEs crime, at this point being revealed as a 'baser certain wisecrackers'. The insertion in brackets then appears inevitably ironic. "Mohorat" is glossed by McHugh as pertaining to the Hebrew for tomorrow. So HCEs crime ('the stink' of tomorrow) appears to take place also in the dream of that specific day. I sense a real temporal manipulation on Joyce's part, and one that will be crucial later in the text.

33.28: 'Faun and Flora' Not a huge revelation, but the first of a series of related pairs that occur within the next page or two; cf. 'wapt from weft' (34.24) and 'vert or venison' (34.25). The distinction is between opposites, and for both the first and third, is between the animal and the vegetable.

33.32-34.09: Another passage too long to quote (beginning 'Truth, beard on prophet...') Of note is the number of Latin words that appear, mimicing the legalese and cant of the court system. Although HCE is not on trial yet, the narrator adopts the legal tone for a large section of these pages, assaying a defence that always seems on the verge of revealing precisely what it is seeking to deny.

34.28-9: 'an abnormal Saint Swithin's summer and, [...] a ripe occasion to provoke it.' The failed justification for HCEs crime. Coming hot on the heels of a series of references to fertility and fecundity, it is no surprise that the weather on Saint Swithin's day (15 July) is popularly supposed to recur for the following forty days. The wetness of the season appears to prompt the distinctions above between plant and animal; perhaps there's something to be made of Swithin's name appearing to derive from "swine", although I'm not so sure whether it's HCE who's the pig or if it's the viewers.

As usual I'd love to read any feedback you have. Please comment below!

We're next meeting on March 20, at 1 pm unless I post changing the time. We're reading 34.30 to 38.08. JG

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